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By Susanna Ashton

Collaborators in Literary the United States, 1870-1920 argues that the collaborative novels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been singularly instrumental to the evolving nature of authorship and its dating to the trendy literary industry. greater than only a gimmick, those novels (there have been numerous hundred released on the flip of the century), have been a major try to paintings in the course of the anxieties authors confronted in an ever extra aggressive and businesslike industry. Deeply contextualized inside of booklet historical past and exertions practices, the problems surrounding collaborative construction of such idiosyncratic writers as Henry James, Mark Twain, and William Dean Howells, exhibit that during union there has been power.

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His later novels, including the tremendously popular and influential Unleavened Bread (1900), extend many of the ideas first broached in The King’s Men. If The King’s Men presented a lighthearted analysis of what might happen if a corrupt democracy ruled Britain, Unleavened Bread analyzed the consequences of that same mediocre democracy ruling in Washington, D. C. John Boyle O’Reilly, who participated in The King’s Men to prove how assimilation and camaraderie could surmount tremendous cultural biases, spent his life writing poetry, novels, and newspaper editorials promoting the responsibility of the intellectually gifted to serve as cultural and political mediators between the less fortunate and the ruling class.

Philip observes at one point that: “a personal fight against a railway corporation was about the most hopeless in the world” (267). The peculiarly American nature of The Gilded Age was also emphasized by the polyglot nature of The Gilded Age text. In this text, readers would encounter a regular babble of voices mimicking an increasingly diverse United States. 8 Most significantly, though, the mottoes need to be understood as part of the book’s collaborative production. Twain, Trumbull, and Warner all belonged to the same men’s Monday Evening Club in Hartford that met every few weeks to drink and discuss arts, politics, and theology while sharing originally composed essays.

Indeed, he believed that The Gilded Age was conceived as a commentary on the state of the American novel itself. It was to be, as he saw it, a “burlesque on the contemporary popular novel” (36–37). He supports his case by describing how the clichés of the sentimental heroine, for example, are completely destroyed by the vicious behavior of Laura, and how the very topic of political corruption itself defied the acceptable range of topics for popular fiction. This position has some merit, for The Gilded Age is certainly an erratic and startling book that defies numerous readerly expectations.

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